Antigua and Barbuda
The licensing and regulation of online gambling services on the islands of Antigua and Barbuda are handled by the Financial Services Regulatory Commission’s Division of Gaming (FSRC).
Antigua and Barbuda was one of the first jurisdictions to license and regulate online gaming. It began licensing operators in 1994.
The FSRC Gaming Division awards two types of licenses: interactive gaming and interactive wagering. The interactive gaming license applies to online casinos while the interactive wagering license applies to sports betting.
Applications for interactive gaming or interactive wagering licenses must be accompanied by a nonrefundable fee of USD 15,000 to cover the costs and expenses of conducting the investigation. If the investigation costs are over USD 15,000, the Commission will notify the applicant in writing regarding any additional nonrefundable monies that are required.
The annual license fees for the interactive gaming license are USD 100,000 and USD 75,000 for the interactive wagering license. The fee is payable to the Commission before any license will be issued.
Under Regulations 148(d) and (e) of the Interactive Gaming and Interactive Wagering Regulations 2007 (IGIWR), implemented to help detect money laundering activity and uncover the proceeds of crime, Internet gambling companies must submit a confidential Significant Payment Report to the Supervisory Authority for each payment exceeding USD 25,000 within 48 hours of the payment. Penalties exist for failure to comply with the regulatory requirement. They must also submit a confidential Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) to the Supervisory Authority to report fraudulent or suspicious transactions which may involve money laundering or an activity similar to money laundering per Regulation 223 of the IGIWR. Financial institutions (including employees, staff, directors, owners, or other authorized representatives) must not notify another person that an SAR has been filed. Failure to comply is a criminal offense.
In addition to being one of the first licensing jurisdictions for online gaming, Antigua and Barbuda is known for its dispute with the United States over their Internet gambling policies. In 2003, Antigua went to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and argued that the US had violated the General Agreement on Trade Services (GATS) relating to international Internet gambling. By 2005, Antigua had scored a narrow WTO victory, with the organization ruling the US had indeed violated its free trade commitments when it came to betting on horse races. After a series of appeals and failed negotiations, the WTO ruled in 2013 that intellectual copyright and trademarks in the US could be violated to pay for damages – which were estimated at USD 21 million annually.
As of press time, the matter still has not been settled.
In 2008, Antigua became a “whitelisted” jurisdiction under UK gambling law. This meant that online gaming operators licensed by Antigua could legally advertise to and accept players from the UK.
In June 2010, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission and the FSRC for Antigua and Barbuda signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that established an innovative regulatory relationship between the two commissions. The MOU enables a process when an operator holds a Primary License in either jurisdiction to apply to the other for an Inter-Jurisdictional Authorization. The holder of the Inter-Jurisdictional Authorization is entitled to be hosted in either jurisdiction. The regulatory body that issues the Primary License regulates and supervises all of the operator’s activities within both jurisdictions.
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Antigua and Barbuda Jurisdiction News
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